What a difference!

I made a trip to the dump, then into town and, by the time I got back, it was time to top up the kibble trays and water bowls.

The bitty baby seems to have no problem being outside in general. It may be tiny, but it seems to have very good insulation! It definitely has developed a thick winter undercoat already. I was able to pick it up and pet it, but only briefly. I’d just finished with the food and water and wanted to make sure it had a chance to eat, before the bigguns’ inhaled it all.

Would you look at the size differences!! In the tray are four kittens from three litters. The grey and white is from the pump shack litter that had been the youngest before the bitties showed up. The white and orange butt just visible on the left is from Rosencrantz’s litter, so we’ve got four different litters represented here.

Meanwhile…

At the hardware store, I was able to find some more of the pipe maintenance stuff to use regularly and hopefully avoid another block. This stuff uses enzymes to help break down any grease and whatnot coating the pipes, so it could potentially even improve things. They had some of the iron fighting toilet tabs that I was unable to find when I was doing the monthly shopping in the city. It took some hunting, but I did find a couple of boxes of screw eye hooks that we can use to better secure the tarp covering the hole in the shed roof. I went looking through several stores for an outdoor dial type thermometer to put into the cats’ house, but could only find liquid thermometers, and there’s no way we’d be able to read one of those through a window. Apparently, outdoor thermometers are a seasonal thing. At least in our neck of the woods. That’s okay. I’ll just grab the one off the squash tunnel that we won’t be using next year. I’m very curious to see what the temperature is in the cats’ house compared to outside, both during the day, when the terrarium bulb is off, and after dusk, when it’s on.

Our highs over the next 4 days are supposed to get a bit milder, and not very windy. That will be a good time to see what we can do with the carport pieces we’ve found. I would love to find a way to set it up in the corner over the window into the old basement. Even if we only use half of it. A lot would depend on whether or not we can secure it from the wind. Oh… maybe that’s not a good spot, though. If it’s there, then we won’t be able to use the telescoping roof snow shovel. Last year, that side of the entry roof accumulated a drift of snow several feet thick in places!

Hmmm. We’ll have to think about that.

The Re-Farmer

Wattle weave bed – it’s finally done! Next!

I was going to post progress pictures, but I need to conserve storage space on WordPress until I go back and resize more old photos. I might do a start-to-finish photo video, instead. Until then, here it is! The L shaped wattle weave bed in the old kitchen garden is DONE!!

The insides of the woven walls were first lined with grass clippings. It turned out to be a very windy day, which made that job more challenging then it should have been!

Next, I used a hoe to make a trench down the middle, pushing the soil up against the grass clippings. The cardboard from the sun room I’d set aside for the burn barrel came in handy, as it was suitable for lining the bottom of the trench. With the bed being so narrow, the size of the boxes didn’t matter as much, since I had to cut them to fit, anyhow. The cardboard then got a soaking.

Next came a layer of corn stalks reserved from the garden clean up, which got a soaking. I raided the compost pile of half rotted kitchen scraps to put on top of the corn stalks, followed by a soaking. Then I raked some leaves off the grass nearby and added that on top, which then got a soaking. At this point, I climbed in and walked back and forth over it, to crush the organic materials. Whatever we decide to plant here next year, I don’t want the roots to be finding big gaps in the soil and drying out.

Finally, I headed out and uncovered the pile of garden soil we bought a couple of years ago. The cover kept the pile from washing away, but didn’t keep the light out, so the pile was covered with a matt of weeds!

I also realized the “tarp” I’d found to cover the pile had channels in it. We’d noticed them when we first dug it out, but only recently did I find the carport support peaces my brother said was in the hay loft. Some time after that, I’d dug out a tarp I thought we might be able to use to cover the hole in a shed roof, but when I unrolled it, I saw it was part of the carport. I figured it was a roof sheet or something, since it isn’t that big. Now I realize that this piece was part of it, too. So I dragged it off and lay it out on the lawn, with weights to keep it from blowing away. We’ll hose it down and see what we can do with it. The first sheet I’d found had a row of tears in it. This one does not.

I’ll have to find something else to cover the garden soil pile with.

It took 4 1/2 wheelbarrow loads of sifted soil (to get as many weed roots out as I could!) to cover the whole thing. In the process, I had to stuff more grass clippings higher up the wattles, so the soil wouldn’t fall through the gaps.

No, this time I did NOT give it a soaking! I didn’t want to compact the soil.

By this time, several hours had passed, so I took a break for a lunch the girls prepared for me, then it was back to work. There was a little bit of grass clippings left, so that got scattered over the soil – at least what the wind didn’t blow away while I was trying to spread it evenly! I then raked up and added a mulch of leaves. That did get a soaking, to keep the wind from blowing it away. Finally, I grabbed the wagon and filled it with as much wood chips as it would hold without spilling as I pulled it back. It turned out to be just barely enough to cover the entire bed with a thin layer.

Once that was done, the entire bed got a very thorough soaking. I wanted all the layers to be good and damp. I might even soak it a couple more times, before our highs start dropping below freezing. We hit a high of 18C/64F today (though with that wind, it didn’t feel like it!), but tomorrow our high is expected to be only 6C/43F, and that’s the warmest day we’ve got left. We are expected to have less than a week with highs above freezing. Which isn’t too bad, for November.

Anyhow. The more the bed gets moistened before things start to freeze, the better it will be for spring. With all the layers, the bed got filled to the top of the shortest walls. My intention was to have it a bit lower, and that will happen as the layers settle and the organic matter decomposes. I expect it to drop at least a couple of inches over time.

While working on this bed, I spent a lot of time going over and around the rectangular bed we’d planted beets in. Once the L shaped bed was done, I decided to work on that one, too. It is framed with logs, and I’d like to raise it a bit higher. This is how it looked, at the start.

The first year we had a bed in this space, it was a sort of triangle shape that was too wide at the end near the house. My daughter and I changed the shape of it, then grabbed some pieces of smaller dead spruces that had been cleaned up, to frame it on three sides and keep the soil in place. We planted carrots here last year, which the groundhogs decimated repeatedly. Amazingly, we still got a crop out of it. This year, we planted beets, which failed. Sort of. I’ll talk about that in a separate post!

There is a pink rosebush on the left, and this year – after pruning away more branches from the ornamental apple trees – it finally had substantial growth and huge numbers of flowers.

It’s amazing what a little sunlight will do!

This year, when we covered the rectangular bed, I had a board across the end by the rose bush to hold the mesh down, but otherwise, there’s nothing there. The ground slopes downwards from the house, so that end is lower than the end closer to the house.

That will be built up.

The first thing I did was dig a shallow trench across the bed near the rose bush. I still had some short logs I’d brought over for tiny log bed and border that didn’t get used (you can read about that here, here and here. Links will open in new tabs, so you don’t lose your place. 😊) I placed one of the shorter logs across, in the trench. Then I pounded in three stakes at each corner, to create upright supports. When I find logs long enough, they will be placed between the stakes. I want the long sides to go on top of the cross piece closer to the house, with a second cross piece to fit in between them, but have it the opposite way on the low side. One of the current side logs is a fair bit shorter than the other, but I think I find find something to fill the gap.

Though I plan to make the bed only one log higher, with the rose bush getting so big, the wall beside it is probably going to be three or four logs high to keep the branches out of the garden bed. I forgot to take a picture, but I’ve already added another log to that end. It’s slightly longer than the one in the photo, so that it is overlapping the longer side log. When I find a gap filling piece for the bottom, it will be tucked under that second log. The second log isn’t as thick as the bottom one, so I tied off the pair of uprights on either side of the ends, to secure them, and will do the same with each log that gets added. I made sure those pairs of upright supports where the tallest and strongest, since they’ll be holding the most logs.

And that was enough for today! I need to go hunting for long enough logs for those sides. If I can’t find any that are suitable, we might add more of those support stakes and use shorter logs instead. We have plenty of short ones that couldn’t be chipped, that were cut to roughly four foot lengths. The bed, however, is about nine feet long, so that might not work. We’ll see.

That done, I had time to work on emptying the rain barrel, which had enough water still in it to do the Korean Pine and Ash tree seedlings in the outer yard, as well as the haskaps and a currant bush in the south yards. So that’s now empty and ready for winter. Usually, I tuck it away in the old kitchen garden for the winter, but I think this time I’ll leave it where it is. It’ll get snow in it, which should be fine. I just don’t want to be chipping it out of the ice and snow again, to set it up to catch the snow melting off the roof in the spring.

While I was doing all this, I had the attention of so many yard cats! Even the ones that don’t like people, like to hang around while I work.

While I was putting things away for the night, I spotted this…

He was napping in the wheelbarrow at first, but I interrupted him while taking a picture. 😊

What a handsome boy! We have managed to pet him every now and then, but he isn’t a fan of attention.

I did get to give the bitty baby a cuddle, though! He came out to explore, and after several attempts, I was able to cat him. He put up quite a fight until I got him into snuggle position and started scritching his ears and he finally calmed down. I hung on to him for quite a while before putting him down, and he didn’t run away. Hopefully, he will become more accepting of cuddles as time goes by. We’ve had others that became less accepting of cuddles and attention over time. Ah, well. We do what we can!

The Re-Farmer

Medicated kitties, and the sunroom is basically done

I’m planning to do our final (hopefully) trip into the city for a Costco stock up shop for this month, so I would normally not have gone anywhere today. Especially with it being Halloween, and I would expect the stores to be filled with last minute shoppers.

I did, however, want to pick up some lysine for the outside cats, to use until the powder I ordered comes in. Since I was going to be in town anyhow, I remembered to grab the empty 5 gallon water jugs for refilling. We have four of these for our drinking water, and try to never go less than one on the go, and one full one waiting, though sometimes that doesn’t quite work out.

Once at home and my daughter took care of hauling the water jugs inside, I started getting ready to give the outside cats some lysine with their evening kibble top up.

*sigh*

I got my daughter to bring me a mortar and pestle. I was expecting to be opening up gel caps with powder in them, like the cat lady was telling me she does.

I even got the same brand she gets!

As for getting it on the amount of kibble I put out at once, which almost fills a gallon sized container, I stole one of the bins we used for taking transplants outside for hardening off in the spring. I put the measured amount of kibble in the bin, ground the tablets into powder and sprinkled that on top, then tossed it until I was sure all the kibble was coated.

I think, the next time I do this, I’ll give the kibble a very light spray of water first, so the powder will stick to it better.

Then the treated kibble got poured back into the gallon container, and I fed the kitties.

They didn’t seem to notice any difference with the kibble, and ate it without any hesitation.

The kittens are already mostly improving with all their leaky eyes, stuffy noses, coughing and sneezing, but this should help them get better faster, and hopefully prevent them from getting sick again. It’s especially dangerous if they get sick in the winter, and with so many really young kittens this year, they are the most at risk.

Speaking of kittens…

I couldn’t get a photo, but when I headed out to town I could see a ludicrously big pile of kittens on the new cat bed I’d put in front of the east facing window. It was hilarious! With the other cat bed at the corner by the south facing window, that entire side would have been packed with babies! They all started moving around and looking to come outside when they saw me, so I hurried away. The last thing I wanted was to have kittens following me to the garage, when I can’t see them while backing out.

After adding the lysine to the kibble, I stayed out and worked on the sun room. This meant leaving the doors open, much to the joy of many kittens. Not all of the kittens are interesting in exploring the sun room, though. At least not yet, but I was very happy to see this!

The bitty baby was out! He was hunting leaves and making friends with some of the cattens. Aside form the one time I saw Junk Pile nursing the bitty, along with her own kittens, we still have yet to see an adult cat mothering this little spitfire. Yet, clearly mothering is happening. He does look bigger, and he’s getting more active, exploratory and playful. All good signs.

I had quite a bit of furry company while working on the sun room. They were into everything!

One of the first things I had to do was clear the wall under the bathroom window, then clean the cube shelf and set it up. Because there’s the possibility of water getting onto the floor, I made sure to put it on some scrap pieces of rigid insulation. Once that was in place, I could start working on the other side.

I’m still debating putting rigid insulation against that big window in the corner. These are double pane windows, but the inner pane on that one has been gone since before we moved here, so it gets covered in frost in the winter. I do want to let the light in, though, so maybe we’ll get one of those clear plastic window kits, instead.

This half is mostly garden related stuff and, of course, having a place to sit.

We used to have a large cardboard moving box behind the door for tall stuff. After digging around, I found a tall aluminum garbage can I could replace it with. It had been sitting outside for who knows how many years, and the bottom of the inside needed to be scraped of… something. After cleaning it as best I could, I cut a piece of insulation to fit the bottom. That way, it’ll be quieter if we drop something hard or metallic inside. Eventually, we’ll have more garden tools stored in there for the winter. Another piece went on the floor under it, for those times when the floor gets wet.

It’s not quite finished, of course. Some things, like the tool box, will be moved out of the sun room completely, when it’s no longer needed for outside stuff. We found a set of legs to make a folding table, and I’ve got those behind the swing bench until we can find and cut a piece of plywood to size and attach them. The folding chairs get stored in the old kitchen.

This side… still looks like a disaster! *sigh*

When I found the metal garbage can to use for storing tall things, I also found a smaller plastic garbage can inside it. It was intact, so I gave it a cleaning, and now it’s sitting upside down by the walker to dry. I’m not sure where it’ll finally go, but this room does need a garbage can. There’s a bucket to catch drips if we get rain and the roof starts leaking again (still no word on when the roofers will be coming out). I had some square buckets on the counter shelf I was using for small hand tools, only to discover water in the bottom of one of them, and the tools inside were starting to rust. *sigh* So I cleaned the tools as best I could, then left the bucket to catch drips. We don’t have rain in the forecast anymore, but it did start raining a bit while I was in town, so until the roof gets done, we’ll just leave the drip catchers where they are.

I would love to find a better place to store the bin of insulation pieces. They come in so handy, though, I want to keep them accessible. There’s a few other things that need to be organized better, but that can wait. The main thing is that everything that was outside is now inside, the room is more useable, and it’s easier to get at things like the table and miter saws. Even the electric chainsaw now has a spot on a shelf. However that, and the battery powered mini chainsaw, will be going into the house for the winter, though. Things get too cold for batteries or chainsaw oil in the winter.

So there we have it! The sun room is pretty much done, and mostly winterized. At some point we’ll set the food and water bowls and a litter box up in there, for when we need to use it as a kitty recover room again, but aside from little things like that, it’s finally done.

Now I can get back to working on garden beds again! 😁

The Re-Farmer

More off the list, an anniversary – and that didn’t take long! (Updated)

I made it into the city today, but not for a Costco stock-up shopping trip. In fact, very little of what I got today was for stocking up.

After I got home and settled in to start this post, I found a notification from WordPress.

Today is our 5th anniversary since starting this blog!

Five years ago today, my husband and younger daughter were already here for almost a week, having left even earlier than planned when my FIL was suddenly hospitalized. My older daughter and I were downsizing, sorting, and packing things like mad before the movers arrived to finish packing, and we would make the drive out.

Somehow, in the middle of all this, we thought it would be a good idea to start a blog.

What were we thinking? 😂

Things sure have changed in five years!

Anyhow.

I’m happy to say that I took my mother’s car into the city and there were no issues at all with the repaired tire rim. Nothing else broke down either. That’s something I’m always grateful for!

All the stops I planned to make were along one strip, and all pretty close to each other, which made it very convenience.

Not any shorter, though!

My first stop was somewhere I’ve never been to before; Tool Town. I needed to get an affordable tarp large enough to cover that shed roof for the winter.

Oh, this is a dangerous place for me to be in!!! The location is actually pretty small but, my goodness, it was jam packed with so many things we could use!! I had to stick to my budget, though. I got a 20’x30′ medium weight tarp that should do well to cover the needed parts of the shed. Then I just walked through the aisles, ogling all the stuff I wanted to buy! I did get one more item that was on my list, though I was expecting to get it at Canadian Tire. Some time ago, we got a solar powered motion sensor light that’s facing the old kitchen garden, and it works quite well. We have a motion sensor light over the main entry door, but we use the sun room door almost exclusively now. That’s where the cat shelters are, and with things getting dark so quickly, we decided it would be good to get another motion sensor light for over the sun room door. There’s no wiring there, so it has to be solar powered. They had a sale on a larger size light, with two brightness options, for the same price as the smaller size, which was the same was what we already have. So I got the bigger, brighter one. The two items together was still under budget, so that was an added bonus!

My next stop was Canadian Tire, where I got a couple of bags of stove pellets for the litter boxes. I would have gotten more, but I didn’t want to put too much weight in my mother’s little car, and I still needed to get more kibble. I also went looking for a new kibble bin, since the racoons broke apart the lid on the one we have now. There was a sale on 80L bins, making them the same price as the 72L bins. It was the right size for our shelf, so I got the 80L bin. I also got a couple of little things, including a new pair of safety glasses. I bought some not long ago, but they’ve gone missing!

I also checked the prices on tarps. Canadian Tire didn’t have the same size as what I’d about, but the one I got was about a third the cost of their closest size – and that’s before the sale price I actually paid!

It was as I was loading the stuff in the car that I noticed a corner of the bin’s lid was cracked. So I grabbed the lid and went back in to customer service. I left the broken lid and my receipt with the employee after explaining what happened, then quickly went to grab a different one. I figured it would be faster that way.

Well, not quite.

Despite there being so many of the 80L bins on display, there was only 1 matching lid left – and it had a chunk missing from one corner! This was a temporary display, and I knew they had some in the regular aisle for storage bins, so I went there, only to find there were no lids at all in that size.

I went back to customer service and told the employee there weren’t any other lids, except one broken one, on the floor. She called it in to get someone to look elsewhere, but after some time he called back to say he couldn’t find any at all, anywhere.

A bin isn’t much use without a lid, so I returned it. I just hoped I would find something somewhere else.

My next stop was at the international grocery store, where I could also grab a late lunch. There are a few things that we only find in this store, such as the big slabs of uncut bacon, which also happened to be on sale today. I even remembered to go through their pharmacy section and did find some lecithin for the outside cats that was NOT soy based. It was in capsules, but we can open those. I have to remember to ask the cat lady where she gets hers. We might have to order the containers of powdered lecithin online, which I would really prefer not to do, but for so many outside cats, we’d need containers with a whole lot more than what I found! I don’t want to be paying extra for capsules we’ll be breaking open, either.

Update: I messaged the cat lady, asking where she got her lecithin. You mean lysine, she asked?

Oops!

Well, lysine is a lot easier to find, and cheaper. She’s been buying the capsules for humans (the same thing marketed for cats is more expensive) and breaking them open. With so many cats, that’s going to get old fast, so I found and ordered a couple of tubs of the powder. Until it gets here, I can pick up the capsules and use that. So many of the little kittens are dealing with the gooby eyes and stuffy noses right now, I won’t want to wait before treating them.

That done, my last top was at Walmart, where I got a couple of 10kg bags of kibble, and a small cat bed for inside the cats’ house. I had looked through the window where the cat bed is set up, and it was full of bigger kittens, while the bitty baby was by the box bed it’s too small to climb into! I was able to find a small bed that should do nicely. I did also find a new kibble bin that was affordable – and with an intact lid! There weren’t a lot of options for the size and shape I needed. I would have preferred a semi-transparent bin, so we can see how much is in it, but I had to settle for a completely opaque one. After that, I just got a few small items.

When it came time to pay, I went to the single line for the cashiers, instead of the self checkout. There were plenty of tills, and one guy that kept an eye on them before telling the next person in line which till to go to next.

He goofed with me.

The till he sent me to had a couple with a very full cart. It looked like they had to do some price checks, too. They split their purchases into two bills, which made things take longer. The second bill included a microwave, which they got the extended warranty on, so that added more time, too. In the end, they had over $500 in stuff on the second bill alone. Which is fine, but while I was standing there waiting, the guy was sending other customers to other tills, instead of redirecting me to a faster till. At least 8 people who had been in line behind me were through with their purchases, before I was even able to start unloading my cart.

Then he sent a customer to wait behind me, and the couple in front of me wasn’t even paying for their stuff, yet!

It’s a good thing I wasn’t in any hurry, but I sure was glad to finally get out of there.

That done, I could finally start heading home.

While I was gone, the girls started working on the sun room, so there was quite a bit of stuff outside when I drove into the yard to unload. They didn’t get everything out, but they did get the swing bench out, which was the main thing to move. We haven’t been able to get around it to clean up, and when we’ve had yard cats in there for varying lengths of time, they don’t always use the litter box we had in there. Instead, they’d go behind the swing bench.

My daughter was able to get that mess cleaned up, and what a difference that made!

After unloading, I started setting up the new kibble bin, but discovered a problem. The bin just barely fits in the shelf – but only with the lid off! With the lid on, it’s too tall.

Ah, well, It will just have to sit on the floor.

We didn’t open the cat shelter to put in the new cat bed. For the time being, it went onto the swing bench.

It immediately had kittens in it, checking things out.

Then the tuxedo claimed it. That didn’t take long at all! 😄😄

Last I saw, he was asleep in it!

One thing I did make sure to do right away was set up the motion sensor light. I was going to put it above the sun room door, only to realize the solar panel would be shaded by the eaves, so I ended up attaching it to the outer door itself. There was just enough room above the window to screw it in place.

It’s full dark now, so I will be going outside to test the motion sensor later. Before setting it up, I put it on the brighter setting. If it works as it should, it will probably be triggered by cats a lot, but I don’t mind that! 😁 Mostly, I just want to be able to see when we’re topping up the kibble for the evening. It gets dark quite early right now!

So this trip is done, and we only have the Costco trip left for the final stocking up for the month.

That one can wait until after Halloween, though!

The Re-Farmer

More good news!

I left really early to take my mother’s car to the garage. It was a pleasant enough day that I didn’t mind having to find something to do for a few hours, and with the history of my mother’s car, I would not have been at all surprised if the tire blew out on the way.

There’s a reason I’m paranoid about tires.

As I headed out, I paused to look around for the bitty baby that had been under the cats’ house earlier. As I looked around the entry, I startled Junk Pile, who was in the cat bed inside, next to the window. She jumped out of the cat bed, and I could see she had been nursing two of her white and grey kittens.

And a bitty baby looked up at me, smacking its lips.

She was nursing him, too!

We may not know who the mama is, but it’s good to see that a lactating mama with an older litter is willing to take care of another cat’s baby!

The trip into town was uneventful. The tire held its air and didn’t blow out on me. 😄 After dropping off the key, I headed up into the “downtown” area. Since it was about lunch time, I was thinking of going to a particular restaurant, only to find it was partially boarded up and closed! From the damage to the door and frame, clearly someone had broken in. Such a shame! I hope they will be able to reopen. Most of the restaurants along that strip are only open in the summer, for tourist season. This one is normally open all year. They only have five or six tables. Most of their business is take out.

So I decided to have lunch at the Chinese restaurant I used to go to when I was driving my younger daughter to her previous job at the pharmacy for a Sunday shift. They were only open for 4 hours, so it wasn’t worth driving home and back, so I was stay in town, and usually had Chinese buffet for lunch. I was thrilled to see their buffet was open again. This place is also where we will sometimes get a special occasion take out. When we do that, we order enough to last the four of us a few days, so it’s a pretty big order! The owner actually remembered me when I came in, commenting that it’s been quite a while. Yes it has! I didn’t realize how much I missed them until today. It’s not like we ever go out to eat often in the first place! I haven’t had an actual sit down meal here in about three years.

While I was there, I took advantage of having good signal coverage and messaged the cat lady to let her know that I saw the bitty baby being nursed by the one lactating mom that’s still hanging around. She was very happy to hear it. 😊

On my way back towards the garage, I was able to stop at several places for errands. One of them was the pharmacy. We’ve been getting our prescriptions delivered, but have skipped for the last few weeks. One of my husband’s medications, a weekly injection, which I am now also on for a different reason, has only limited coverage with his private insurance. It covers 90% of the cost, but only up to a certain “reasonable dose” amount. At 90%, we were still paying about $70 for one injection pen, which means the retail cost per pen is almost $700. Each pen comes with 6 needles, which gives an idea of what doses are typical, but my doctor had me building up to a dose that is basically the entire amount in the pen. Double what my husband was on! So for my husband, he’d need a new pen every two weeks, while I would go through a pen a week at maximum dose. Even with insurance, my prescription alone would have taken up almost our entire prescription budget for the month – and we already had to increase it because of rising costs! I was on the maximum dose only once when we found out it was no longer covered by our private insurance.

Now, this province has its own public coverage for prescription medications, though it’s something that has to be applied for. After a deductible is paid, the province’s health care system covers the cost. For those prescriptions that are covered by both the provincial and our private insurance coverage, the private insurance covers the 90% cost until the annual deductible with the provincial system is reached. Then it switches to the provincial insurance, which covers the costs 100%. These injections are not normally covered, but when our doctor found out we were having problems, he applied for special coverage. When I went to the post office to pick up the replacement phone, my husband and I both had letters letting us know it was approved.

So I stopped at the pharmacy and got it double checked. Their system showed it was good to go – and they had the prescription in stock, so I was able to get both our prescriptions. I’ve been off it for so long, though, I’ll probably have to build up from a low dose again. Which I don’t mind doing, since it means one pen will last a month, instead of a week. Also, when I last spoke to my doctor about it, he reduced my dose to what the insurance company will cover, so now I’m on the same dose as my husband.

What I’m not looking forward to are the side effects I had from it. It took me a while to figure out that this prescription was the cause of my… volatile intestinal distress, shall we say. The doctor wants to try me on this medication for a year, but if these problems come back, I’m going to ask him to put me back on the old medication. Not only is it cheaper, but I didn’t have any side effects from it.

It took a while for that to get cleared up, and my husband also had his bubble packs ready, so I was able to get our prescriptions done. While waiting for the injection prescriptions to be filled, I used the time to look for some lecithin powder for the outside cats. I did find some, in capsules, but only one brand of supplements. It was also soy based, which is NOT recommended for cats. When the prescriptions were ready, I asked about it, and that was all they had available.

I’ll have to ask the cat lady where she gets hers, because she said she got it as a human supplement (rather then from a vet) for really cheap – and the capsules I found were not very cheap! So many of the kittens have gooby eyes, but there’s no way we can get them to a vet or treat them. The ones with the worst of it are too feral.

So, that will have to wait.

One of my other errands was to get my driver’s license renewed, which required a new photo this year. The vehicle insurance and registration for both our van, and my mother’s car, needed to be renewed as well. So that is now all taken care of, well before our deadline.

By the time I made it back to the garage, they had my mother’s car in, and the tire off, early. My timing was just right; they were in the process of examining the rim.

The tire had nothing wrong with it. It was the rim that was leaking air. With the type of rims my mother’s car has, the chrome starts to peel after a while, and that compromises the seal. It just needed to be cleaned up and smoothed out. After they explained it to me, I was able to drop my bags off in the car, then head across the street for one last errand; a quick stop at the grocery store across the street. By the time I was done, so was my mother’s car.

It cost less than $35 to get it fixed! I don’t think I’ve ever had such a low car repair bill! 😄😄

Before I left, I messaged the family to let them know, and ask someone to leave the wagon by the garage so I wouldn’t have to back up to the house to unload. When I got home, my older daughter was sitting on the front step, absolutely enveloped with kittens running around and climbing her, as she tried to pet them all at once! I think she had something like six kittens, all at once, when I came up with the loaded wagon!

She helped me bring things inside, then I stayed out to refill the kibble bin, then top up their kibble trays outside. I wanted to get all the kittens out of the sun room, so I could close it up for the night. I don’t want any more racoons getting in and eating all the kibble I’d just added to the bin!

I then stayed out to pet as many kittens as I could, do a head count (the number kept changing, but I counted anywhere from 21 to 26!), and look for the bitty baby.

I thought I spotted him, so I stuck my phone past the carpet strips covering the entry to the cats’ house and tried for a photo.

There he was!

After a while, I spotted him climbing the carpet strips again, and I was able to reach in and grab him.

Oh, he’s still a spitfire! That little one was really trying to fight back! I’m happy to say, though, that once I had him in my hands, he does look like he’s grown a bit. He did eventually calm down, and after a good little cuddle, I put him back inside the cats’ house.

I’m so happy he’s doing well and being taken care of!

I think I’ll have to ask one of the girls to take a flashlight, get down on the ground, and look under the cats’ house, though. I was hearing some noises from under there that didn’t sound very catlike to me. It didn’t sound skunk like, either. I did hear one of the cattens making a similar noise later, though, so maybe I’m off base, but if there’s a racoon or something that has made a den under there, I’d like to know about it! It seems unlikely, since when I put kibble on the ground where they go under the cats’ house, I usually end up seeing at least three, sometimes five, little kittens faces at the food. I don’t think they’d be under there, if there were something other than a cat under there, with them!

So today has been a good day. We have good news about the bitty kitty, good news about my mom’s car, good news about our prescription coverage, and even good news about getting my driver’s license and vehicle paperwork taken care of early.

And while I was working on this, the girls made supper, and the house smells delicious! Time to go eat. 😁

The Re-Farmer

Some chilly morning progress

At some point, I’m going to have to borrow my husband’s phone or something, just to have handy to take some progress pictures!

And kitty pictures.

I counted 26 this morning. !! And I didn’t see Rosencrantz until much later, nor did I see Rolando Moon, who seems to have moved on again.

My new phone is expected to arrive on the 28th, which is the day I’m taking my mother’s car in to get the tire fixed. The shipping notice originally said the 27th, which I would have preferred, since that meant I could have the phone set up and ready before going in for our first city shopping trip for next month. I’ll definitely borrow my husband’s phone for that trip, at least.

Once I was done my morning rounds, I grabbed the loppers and went into the south side of the spruce grow. We haven’t done any clean up in there for quite some time. Much of that area was under water this spring, anyhow.

This area has been mostly taken over by poplars, and that was what I was after. As we clean out the spruce grove, one of the things I want to do is cut back a lot of the poplars and plant more spruces. I want it to stay a spruce grove, not turn into a poplar grow. Spruces are better for cutting the wind and snow year round.

What I was looking for were tall, straight poplars small enough to cut with the loppers. At that thickness, they should still be flexible enough to bend as I weave them around the uprights. If it’s too thick to cut with the loppers, it’s too thick for the wattle weaving.

While I was doing that, I found myself working around the apple trees we’ve been uncovering out there. I asked my mother about them, and these were trees she’s planted herself, mostly from seed. My mother still has a hard time understanding that you don’t get the same type of apples from seeds at the tree they came from (as far as I know, there is only one type of apple that grows true from seed). We have no idea what kind of apples these can produce. The area is so overgrown, the much shorter apple trees barely had enough sunlight to start blooming. I was even cutting poplars that were growing through the branches of an apple tree!

Since I was there anyhow, I went ahead and pruned several of the apple trees, cutting away dead branches, and opening them up to more light. With the number of poplars I cut away from around them, that will be a help, too. We will need to come back with other tools to cut away the ones that were too big for the loppers to cut through, as well as other bushes I can’t identify at this point. I was happy to spot little spruces trying to grow through the tall grass and fallen trees and branches, which also need to be cleared away. I was also very thrilled to find a single Tamarack tree. There were three others planted closer to the house, in between some spruces, that are way too crowded together. I’m hoping to save them, but that might require cutting down the spruces next to them, and I don’t want to do that if I don’t have to. This Tamarack, however, as all on its own and would not have been deliberately planted there. I really like Tamarack, and would like to eventually plant more of them.

Anyhow.

I kept finding more of these apple trees, but I couldn’t get at most of them. Of the ones that I was able to prune, though, I’m hoping they will finally get enough light to bloom and produce. I did see some flowers on one of them for the first time last spring, but no apples developed.

I am quite happy with how many small, straight poplar I was able to get at and harvest. Once I was done, it took several trips to drag the piles of them I’d made, over to where the burn barrel is. The branch pile may be chipped, but I’m already adding more to the remains that need to be burned! The next while was spent trimming all the branches and twigs off, adding those to the burn pile, then sorting the remaining poles more or less by length. Then they all got dragged over to the old kitchen garden.

I should actually have enough to finish wattle weaving the inside of the L shaped bed, and even start on the outside of it. What I think I will do for the outside is not have a 90 degree corner, like there is around the double lilac, but to have a curve, instead. I haven’t quite decided yet, but if I think having a curve would actually make things easier, and more even.

By the time the poles were dragged over to the old kitchen garden, I had to go inside to warm up! I don’t know what the temperature was outside at the time, but the thermometer in the sun room was at only about 3C/37F. Which is what our high of the day is supposed to be. It’s almost 2pm as I write this, and we finally reached that temperature outside. Tomorrow’s high is expected to be only 4C/40F, but after that, we’re supposed to have three days with highs of 13C/55F.

I have to get back at work with the poles I cut this morning, though, while they are still at their most pliable. It’s definitely going to be chilly work!

The Re-Farmer

Cold morning, and a bit of an update

When I checked the weather this morning, at about 6:30am, we were at -6C/21F – colder than was predicted. It’s going to warm up again, but this was definitely a precursor of what’s to come, about a week from now.

The kitties seemed to be okay with it, though.

It had warmed up to about 0C/32F by the time I was taking this picture. It’ll be time to hook up electricity to the cat house soon. There was frost on the inside of the windows!

There was also no water left in their bowls at all this morning. Even the big plastic heated bowl that stopped working last winter had nothing but shards of ice stuck to the sides. It makes me wonder if we’ve got something large, like a deer, coming around and drinking the water.

The kitties were very happy when I refilled the bowls with warm water. 😊

When I first open the sun room door, it’s not unusual for cats to explode out of the shelf shelter next to the door. I’ve had to reinforce the rigid insulation, even at the very bottom, because they hit the sides on the way out and break it.

This morning, I saw a whole bunch of very small white and grey kittens bursting out of the shelf shelter. These would be the pump shack kittens! They’ve found a warm and cozy place to spend the night, near the house, which makes me feel much better. There are still a couple of other little kittens – I think they are Caramel’s hidden litter – that go shooting across the yard when I come out. Hopefully, as things get colder, they will learn that beside the house is a warmer, safer place to be, and the giant food givers mean them no harm.

I tried to do a head count this morning. It’s hard, because they move so much. Especially with all the mostly white ones. I think I counted 25, though. Almost all kittens and cattens. Among the adults, I see Rosencrantz and Caramel regularly. I think I see Junk Pile, but one of the cattens looks so much like her, and is about the same size as her, I’m not sure. Rolando Moon, at least, is very easy to spot, and she comes and goes frequently. She is the last of the orange cats! I did not see her this morning. I’m not sure about all the ‘iccuses, all of which are grey tabbies. The adult males – all of them – have pretty much disappeared. The mamas were never particularly large, so I’m not sure if I’m seeing almost grown grey tabby cattens or adult cats!

Even Sad Face (aka Shop Towel), father to all those white and grey kittens, is rarely seen these days. I haven’t seen The Distinguished Guest in quite a while, and even then, only briefly. Potato Beetle hasn’t been seen in quite some time. One of the cattens looks a LOT like Potato Beetle.

We’ll need to take advantage of the few days of warm weather we’ll be having and get work done outside. This morning, I took the wheel barrow to the barn and went searching. There are two last pieces of high density mats that will go into the cat’s house to help insulate the floor – and can survive being scratched at. I also found one last large tarp of some kind. It needs to be cleaned up and patched up, but it should be big enough to put over the hole in the roof of the shed by the barn. My brother was able to put salvaged pieces of metal roofing on the other side, but we don’t have a safe way to do that on this side.

Too bad the scaffolding that used to be here disappeared before we moved in. That would have allowed us to patch up a few shed roofs. 😕

On top of that, I’ve got more to work on in the old kitchen garden to make it more functional, and there’s more clean up and weeding to prepare the beds for next year. Of course, we need to finish painting the water bowl shelter, but it’s been too cold for that, the last couple of days. We should be able to get it finished before things start getting – and staying – cold again.

In other things, my daughter and I did a dump run yesterday, then ran some errands. One of them was to visit my MILs grave to see if it needs to be cleaned up and add some silk flowers I got for it.

We never found it.

My daughter was so sick the day of the funeral, she could not remember where it was, other than vaguely in the middle somewhere. Maybe. The cemetery is quite large, but we went through the whole thing. We were starting to go through it a second time when my daughter spotted a notice on a storage shed. It turns out that some of the monuments had been damaged during this spring’s flooding, and were being slowly removed and repaired.

That explains what looked like unmarked graves I was finding! I guess my MIL’s grave stone was among those that had to be removed for repair.

We had another errand to run, but since we were still in town, I added one more. I kept forgetting to book an appointment for follow up bloodwork for Leyendecker. The vet clinic has just reopened in a new location, so we went there and I went in to book it. They are still most definitely still in move-in mode! It’s a much larger location, though, which I think was much needed. It took a while for the receptionist to find Leyendecker in the system (she ended up having to do a refresh and reload, and suddenly it all popped up!), but she was able to get us in.

For today!

I did not expect it to be that quick!

So I will be heading into town again this afternoon with Leyendecker. It’s just for blood work, and he didn’t need to fast or anything like that.

Hard to believe that, only a week or so ago, we seriously thought we might have to have him put down. He now seems completely back to normal! The only thing that’s changed is that now Nosencrantz and Butterscotch are okay with him being in my office/bedroom with them, though Nosencrantz will still growl at him sometimes. Hopefully, the blood work will reflect his improved condition.

The one last errand needed was to pick up some cash to pay the septic guy. We’ll get that done as soon as we can, and then we can cover the tank for the winter. We’ll have to use the insulated tarp again. I don’t think we’ll be getting another round straw bale before winter. We shall see. I would rather have straw, as it’s easier to move than a tarp frozen to the ground, if we need access to the tank again!

It’s always such a push to get things done before winter!

The Re-Farmer

More progress on the old kitchen garden

We are having a nice day today, before temperatures drop quite a bit tomorrow, so I wanted to get some more done on the old kitchen garden. We’ll expected to have only one cold day before it warms up again, so we should still be okay for getting things done.

With the new raised bed done, it was time to work on the south edge of the old kitchen garden.

This is where my daughter has planted her irises, and at the far right is where her daffodils are. The bulbs were planted deeply, so that they would better survive our winters, but it meant I could only dig around the top few inches. Which is where most of the roots and rhizomes are, so that worked out.

We had a couple of boards on the ground to mark where the outer edge was, though they were mostly covered by grass and weeds. After moving those out, I used where they were as my guide for were to work while clearing things. Once I’d weeded as much as I could, I wanted to see what I could do about the stepping stones and the paths we’d be leaving open in the wall it will be edges with. I found one more paving stone, like we’ve got as stepping stones under the kitty’s butt. I also tried to find matching, unbroken bricks for the gap in the wall.

The other stepping stones are actual stones. After digging around the rock pile near my late father’s car, I found a couple that had split and were nice and flat.

If you look just above the handle of my digging tool, you’ll see a bit of green. That is one of the irises that, for some reason, it still green. I wanted to make sure it was protected when we use the stepping stones.

The stones and bricks were laid down, then I dug a shallow trench along the outer edge. I was able to fit the shortest log left over from before between the concrete block retaining wall and the bricks, without having to shift the bricks much at all. The longest log from the pile just happened to be the perfect length to fit between the two pairs of bricks, with no adjustments! The last log I added didn’t need to reach all the way to the laundry platform, since that area is sheltered by the mock orange tree you can see the leaves and branches of in the bottom corner. I just hope I didn’t cover that single Egyptian Walking Onion that’s somewhere in there. That thing has managed to survive for many years. I’d hate to be the one that finally killed it!

The logs are just there as temporary place holders. My daughter wants to use rocks to create more of a wall along the edge. Once the logs and stepping stones were in place, I spread the rest of the sifted soil on the tarp all along the edge, and the logs will help keep the soil in place.

This is the first year we were able to protect that onion enough for it to grow bulbils. You can see they’re sprouting, but no roots had started to form, so I moved it out. Then I found another onions while I was weeding.

I figured, what the heck. I may as well plant them!

I planted them along the raised bed, covered them with a grass clipping mulch (and put some around that one iris by the stepping stones), then added sticks at either end to mark it. I knew for sure that there wasn’t anything else planted there. I figure they will be sheltered by the log wall, and still get full sunlight, too. If they survive the winter, we might have more walking onions next year!

That done, I gave everything a thorough watering, including washing the soil off the bricks, stepping stones and the log edge.

After that, it was just a matter of clean up. The pile of roots and weeds went to the burn barrel.

The area is now done. The next area I need to work on is the L shaped bed around the double lilac. I’ve got lettuce I left to go to seed in there and that’s it. With the weather we’ve been having, though, I’m not sure we’ll be getting any seed out of them this year. We shall see.

The Re-Farmer

Some evening clean up

My original plan for the day had been to go into the city for our second stock up trip, but that just didn’t happen. Not only was I very tired from being up so late making and canning the tomato paste, I was in a load of pain. Arthritis sucks at the best of times, but everything else was hurting, too!

By the afternoon, I was feeling a bit better, so I went outside to do some clean up. I figured I would give the water bowl shelter a quick scrub down, and tomorrow we could start painting it.

Ha!

That worked out well enough until I went to flip it upside down to scrub the bottom.

The first time I flipped it on its roof, two floor boards fell off.

Most of the boards are nailed in place, but this salvaged wood is pretty warped and starting to dry rot, so they don’t hold well. I did have 1 3/4 inch screws in a few of them, and those ones held, so I flipped it back again, nailed the boards that fell off back in place, then added some screws.

Then I flipped it upside down, and a different board fell off. And that one did have screws already!

I fixed that and added more screws, flipped it back and…

That board has several screws in it, and it still fell off. It’s basically too warped for the screws to hold. I need longer screws, but the next size up I’ve got are 3 inch screws, and those are just too long. Especially since I’m doing this by hand.

So tomorrow, I’ll pick up some 2 inch wood screws and get those back on. It only has to hold long enough for us to paint it. After that, it won’t matter.

I let the girls know the status of things, including that I was unable to scrub the inside back wall, because I couldn’t reach it, then moved on to something else.

I did some chop and drop around the haskap berries, now that my mother’s flowers are past their prime. I’ve never bothered to do this before, leaving the stems to clean up in the spring, but this year they got SO tall, the completely covered the haskap berries. So now they will be a mulch, and the haskap are finally getting some sunlight.

I had lots of company while I worked.

I like this baby. He spends most of his time just hanging out nearby.

We had haskap

We had no berries at all this year. The male plant bloomed, but I never saw flowers on the females. Hopefully, next year will be better, but I think I just need to move these to a better location.

While I was working on that, one of my daughters came out and worked on the water bowl shelter.

She tacked the floorboard back on, crawled in and got that back wall scrubbed.

If we’d had the paint earlier, we would have scrubbed and painted all the parts and pieces first. That would have made things much easier!

Ah, well. We’ll manage.

That tuxedo really likes the water bowl shelter. He’s always hanging around in or under it!

Once the shelter is dry, it’s going to need another brush down to get the stuff currently stuck in place because it’s damp. With the condition of the wood, we don’t want to use a hose on it any more than we absolutely have to. It’ll be good to finally have it painted and set up in its spot by the kibble house and cat shelter. We’ll be creating a sort of U shape with them, which should help reduce drifting, too.

Little by little, it’s getting done!

The Re-Farmer

Grass clippings are gold!

Since we did not get the expected rain today, I headed out with our yard wagon and started raking up the grass clippings from the outer yard. The never mowed areas where I’d been able to expand into had a deep layer of clippings to gather, before it started killing off the grass below.

The three most socialized kittens just loved what I was doing. Especially the one you can see inside the wagon!

I’d originally planned to just make a pile of clippings near the main garden area, but instead decided to actually do some mulching. It won’t make much of a difference for the plants, this late in the season, but it will help with amending the soil for next year.

The Chocolate cherry tomatoes and carrots got done. There was just no weeding happening in this bed. Whatever the weeds were, they were pretty delicate. I found myself just tearing leaves instead of pulling up roots, and often accidentally catching carrot greens in the process, so I just gave up. You can see what few carrots made it in this bed, but there are so few onions that made it, the’re not visible in the photo.

As expected, the layers in these blocks settled a fair bit. After lifting the protective netting, I was able to do some weeding, first, then mulched with clippings. I’ve left the netting up. When they were transplanted, there was a good chance the cats would roll on them or dig them up, but that’s not really a concern right now. We also no longer have ground hogs that might try to eat the squash. They’ve all disappeared for some time now.

The current bush my mother gave me last year to transplant got a new layer of mulch around it as well.

In the main garden area, the tomato bed got done, making sure it went under the soaker hose. It would have been great if we could have done this much earlier in the season; the stove pellet sawdust mulch we added after transplanting them had broken down quite a bit, long ago. It was the same situation with these other beds…

With the onions harvested, there was just the Purple Beauty peppers, and two tomato plants, that got mulched. Plus the sunflowers. Because, why not?

The Little Finger eggplant got done as well.

There is a single eggplant developing on one of the plants!

After all that, I was still left with a big pile of clippings. They will be quite handy as we prepare beds for next year, and for when we plant our hard neck garlic this fall.

As I write this, my daughters are outside, giving everything a good watering. The forecasts are still saying we’re supposed to be getting rain today, but they’re also saying we’re raining right now. Looking at the weather radar, there is an actual horseshoe shape of rain around us, but not over us! Still, there’s a large system of rain heading our way. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll actually get some rain. But if not, things are being watered, just in case. If we do get rain, the extra certainly won’t hurt.

Strange to thing that we need the rain – in areas, I can see the ground cracking from last of moisture – area all the flooding we had this spring!

The Re-Farmer